There is a wide range of supports available to help businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
Financial supports, training and guidance to help your business mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and work safely:
The COVID-19 Income Support Scheme provides financial support to Irish workers and businesses affected by the crisis.
- Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme: The new Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), provides a flat-rate subsidy to qualifying employers based on the numbers of eligible employees on the employer’s payroll. The EWSS, operated by Revenue, has replaced the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme and will run until 31 March 2021.
- COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment: The Pandemic Unemployment Payment is available to all employees and the self-employed who have lost their job due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
MyWelfare.ie is the quickest and easiest way to apply for payments.
On MyWelfare.ie all customers can
- apply for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment
- apply for Enhanced Illness Benefit for COVID-19 including for self-isolation cases
- apply for a jobseeker’s payment
- request to close their COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
- Short-time Work Support: Employees of businesses that need to reduce hours or days worked can avail of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Short-time Work Support.
Loans, grants, vouchers and schemes
- COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme: The COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme facilitates up to €2 billion in lending to eligible businesses. Loans under the Scheme range from €10,000 to €1 million, for terms of up to five and a half years. Financing will be offered through a range of products, including term loans, working capital loans and overdrafts. Loans of up to €250,000 under the Scheme are available unsecured (except where this is a requirement of the product feature, as in the case of asset finance, invoice discount facilities, etc). The Scheme is operated by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) through participating finance providers.
- COVID-19 Business Loans: COVID-19 Business Loans up to €25,000 are available through Microfinance Ireland with zero repayments and zero interest for the first 6 months and the equivalent of an additional 6 months interest-free subject to certain terms and conditions. The loans can range from €5,000 to €25,000. Repayments will commence in month 7 for the remaining period of your loan. The Government will rebate to you the interest paid in the following 6 months (months 7-12 of your loan). The interest rate after the first 6 months will be a reduced interest rate 4.5% APR if submitted through the Local Enterprise Office Network (or other referral partners) or 5.5% APR if you apply directly to Microfinance Ireland. The loan terms are typically up to 3 years and there are no fees or charges.
- COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme: The SBCI COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme for eligible businesses supports loans from €25,000 up to €1.5 million (first €500,000 unsecured) with a maximum interest rate of 4%. Applications can be made through the SBCI website at sbci.gov.ie. Eligibility criteria apply.
- Future Growth Loan Scheme: The enhanced Future Growth Loan Scheme makes up to €800m of loans available for terms of 7-10 years. This scheme is available to eligible businesses in Ireland, including those in the primary agriculture (farmers) and seafood sectors, to support strategic long-term investment.
- Sustaining Enterprise Fund: The Sustaining Enterprise Fund of up to €180 million is specifically aimed at firms operating in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors, with 10 or more employees, that are vulnerable but viable. The fund is operated by Enterprise Ireland with amounts between €100,000 and €800,000 available to eligible companies who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The fund includes a 50% non-repayable grant element, up to a limit of €200,000.
- Sustaining Enterprise Fund for Small Enterprise: As part of the Sustaining Enterprise Fund, Enterprise Ireland operates a specific Sustaining Enterprise Fund for Small Enterprise. This fund provides a short term working capital injection of up to €50,000 to eligible smaller companies to support business continuity and strengthen their ability to return to growth.
- Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund: The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund will focus on investment in medium and large scale enterprises in Ireland through a Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund. The fund, worth up to €2 billion, will make capital available to medium and large enterprises on commercial terms.
- General grant supports: The full range of Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Local Enterprise Office and Údarás na Gaeltachta grant supports continue to be available to eligible firms to help with strategies to access finance, commence or ramp-up online trading activity, reconfigure business models, cut costs, innovate, diversify markets and supply chains and to improve competitiveness.
- COVID Restrictions Support Scheme: The COVID Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) offers support to businesses forced to close or trade at significantly reduced levels as a result of restrictions imposed on them in response to COVID-19. Eligible businesses can make a claim to Revenue for a payment known as an Advance Credit for Trading Expenses (ACTE). An ACTE is payable for each week a business is affected by the restrictions. The ACTE is equal to 10% of the average weekly turnover of the business in 2019 up to €20,000, plus 5% on turnover over €20,000. In the case of new businesses, the turnover is based on the average actual weekly turnover in 2020. The ACTE is subject to a maximum weekly payment of €5,000.
- Enterprise Support Grant: The Enterprise Support Grant for businesses impacted by COVID-19 is available for eligible self-employed people who close their COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment on or 18 May 2020. This will provide business owners with a once-off grant of up to €1,000 to restart their business which was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Micro-Enterprise Assistance Fund: The new Micro-Enterprise Assistance Fund will help businesses with fewer than 10 employees, which are ineligible for existing grants, with a grant of up to €1,000 to help them adapt and invest to rebuild their business. The fund is administered by the Local Enterprise Offices.
- Trading Online Voucher: The Local Enterprise Office Trading Online Voucher is a government grant scheme, designed to assist small businesses with up to 10 employees. It offers financial assistance of up to €2,500 along with training and advice to help your business trade online. Businesses that have already received a Trading Online Voucher can apply for a second voucher, where upgrades are required.
- LEAN for Micro: LEAN for Micro is available to Local Enterprise Office clients to help build resilience within small companies. Businesses can avail of consultancy support with a LEAN Expert or help to implement new remote working and physical distancing guidelines. Contact your Local Enterprise Office for further details.
- COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant: The COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant, worth up to €5,000, is designed to help companies to develop a robust financial plan, including the preparation of documentation required to support applications for external finance from banks and/or other finance providers. The grant is a new support for Enterprise Ireland clients and those manufacturing or internationally traded services companies that employ 10 or more full time employees.
- Lean Business Continuity Voucher: The Lean Business Continuity Voucher is available to eligible companies to access up to €2,500 in training or advisory services support related to the continued operation of their businesses during the current pandemic. It is open to small, medium or large client companies of Enterprise Ireland or Údarás na Gaeltachta (including High Potential Start-ups). The voucher may be used to obtain services from approved providers.
- Cross-border companies: InterTradeIreland’s Emergency Business Solutions offers professional advice, to the value of €2,250, to address key business challenges related to COVID-19. The E-Merge programme provides €2,800 consultancy support to help cross-border businesses develop online sales and eCommerce solutions.
- COVID Products Scheme: The COVID Products Scheme will allow for up to €200m in targeted State support to facilitate the research and development of COVID products, to enable the construction or upgrading of testing and upscaling infrastructures that contribute to the development COVID-19 relevant products, as well as to support the production of products needed to respond to the outbreak. The scheme will be delivered through IDA Ireland's COVID-19 supports and Enterprise Ireland's COVID-19 Business Response.
- Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme: The Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme, delivered by SOLAS, provides financial support for apprenticeship employers who take on apprentices on national apprenticeship programmes. Apprenticeship employers are eligible for a €3,000 payment for each new apprentice.
- Code of Conduct for commercial rents: A voluntary Code of Conduct between landlords and tenants for commercial rents has been developed based on examples from other jurisdictions and with input from other Departments, State agencies and key stakeholders. The aim of the Code is to facilitate discussions between landlords and tenants impacted by COVID-19.
Rates waiver and tax measures
- Commercial rates waiver: With limited exceptions, all businesses will be granted a waiver to 31 December 2020. Updates will be available on housing.gov.ie and from local authorities.
- 'Warehousing' of deferred tax debts: The scheme, administered by Revenue, will ‘warehouse’ VAT and PAYE (Employer) debts associated with the COVID-19 crisis.
- Reduction in the standard rate of VAT: A six-month reduction in the standard rate of Value-Added Tax (VAT) from 23% to 21% will apply, effective from 1 September 2020.
- VAT rate reduction from 13.5% to 9%: A VAT rate reduction from 13.5% to 9% applies from 1 November 2020 in recognition of the unprecedented challenges facing the hospitality and tourism sector.
- Advice for taxpayers and agents: Revenue's COVID-19 information and advice for taxpayers and agents provides information on Revenue services and tax and customs measures in place during the COVID-19 pandemic including information on tax returns and interest suspension arrangements.
Sector-specific supports and guidance
Skills and training supports
The government offers a range of initiatives for reskilling and upskilling to help businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. The skills supports include Enterprise Ireland's eiLearn online learning resource, LEOs training webinars, the Skillnet Ireland and Regional Skills Fora networks, the SOLAS Skills to Advance initiative and Springboard+ courses.
For details on the range of skills supports visit COVID-19: Skills and training supports for businesses.
Work Safely Protocol
The Work Safely Protocol is designed to support employers and workers to put measures in place that will prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. The Protocol is a general document applicable to all sectors. It sets out the minimum measures required in every place of work to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to facilitate the re-opening of workplaces following temporary closures and the ongoing safe operation of those workplace.
The HSA Work Safely online courses includes a course to help understand the Protocol requirements and a course for those appointed Lead Worker Representative.
Templates and checklists
The HSA COVID-19 templates and checklists – based on the Protocol – have been prepared to inform employers, business owners, managers and workers about what they need to do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.
The Data Protection – Return to Work Safely Protocol guidance document has been prepared to assist in providing clarification where the measures set out in the Protocol may result in the processing of personal data.
Posters and graphics
The Department of Health has issued a range of COVID-19 posters and graphics including face covering posters and safe guidelines for work, home, public transport, outdoors and shopping.
Posters, leaflets and other resources for use in workplaces and communities are also available on the HSE website at COVID-19 posters and resources and the HSA website at hsa.ie/covid19.
Download our guide to business supports
The Supports for businesses impacted by COVID-19 booklet details the key supports and resources available to help businesses.
Contact our Enterprise Information Centre
Contact the Enterprise Information Centre for information on the government supports available to businesses and enterprises.
Tel: +353 1 631 2002
Occupational Health and Safety Helpline
For information on workplace health and safety please contact the Occupational Health and Safety Helpline.
Tel: 1890 289 389 or (01) 614 7000
COVID-19 related prevention and recovery measures in the workplace
For support in relation to improving your COVID-19 related prevention and recovery measures in the workplace, contact the NSAI COVID-19 helpline.
Tel: +353 1 807 3800
For more information, advice and guidelines from across government visit gov.ie/covid19.